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Monday, July 26, 2021

CD Review: Here We Stand

 

The Fratellis

Here We Stand

Island Records

 

Rating: 4

 

If Green Day were cool, they’d be The Fratellis. There’s only so far you can go with power chord anthems without sounding like you’re kicking a dead horse.

There’s also a certain fullness required to elevate a band’s sound to a higher level, no matter how small a band’s numbers or simple their instrumentation. Social Distortion was never able to get this right, and the White Stripes got off the train a while ago.

But The Fratellis are different – this Scottish-based group doesn’t need three guitarists or a traveling background band to reach a rich and full sound, and unlike their fellow three-man (and two-man) groups of the genre, it isn’t a chore to sit through their entire albums. With only three members and after only two releases, the group is maturing fast.

Here We Stand, The Fratellis latest June release, shows off their roots as a Scottish pub band without wearing it on their sleeves. The Scottish folk-anthem influence is apparent from start to finish, and while it isn’t as poppy as their 2007 Costello Music, it’s about as energetic as it gets.

Throughout the album there’s never really a dull moment, which really sets it apart from countless other sleep-inducing groups in the same vein. Something about their production is just plain listenable, despite its unwavering upbeat feeling (which is almost always a pitfall in other cases).

Here We Stand isn’t complicated – the chord progressions are basic and the drum lines run together. Yet somehow the band manages to pull it together in a compelling and interesting manner, with a depth that outreaches the band’s basic instrumentation and style. An occasional piano gives the album an energetic pulse, and even the slower balladBabydollis enjoyable throughout, despite the fact that it rarely changes.

Lead singer and guitarist Jon Fratelli shines throughout the album. His voice naturally fits to the music, at times sounding like a late John Lennon (Stone Temple Pilot lead vocalist Scott Weiland’s similar attempts pale in comparison). Worthy of note is his performance on the vindictiveStragglers Moon,a brooding Beatles-like track that could have easily come off of a modern Magical Mystery Tour.

There’s nothing unnecessary about this album. It’ll keep you awake, and it’ll keep you listening.

 

Justin T. Ho

 

Give these tracks a listen:

Stragglers Moon

Look Out Sunshine!

 

For fans of:

Chris Brown

Miley Cyrus

 

Lyrics sidebar:

Excerpt from “A Heady Tale

 

So steal the watch from off my wrist

Oh and shake me by the hand

We could disappear for days

And they wouldn’t understand

Gypsy blood will get you far

And they will not miss you when you go

 

Tear another hole in my brown shoes

And we can all sleep for a while

Well I told you once before I love your braces

And your hesitant smile

But please don’t get me wrong it’s only right

That you can stamp on my heart

Well I’ve seen you and your friend some place

You know I just can tell you apart

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